Trent University Faculty Association v. Trent University, (1997) 102 O.A.C. 346 (CA)

JudgeBrooke, Finlayson and Laskin, JJ.A.
CourtCourt of Appeal (Ontario)
Case DateAugust 22, 1997
Citations(1997), 102 O.A.C. 346 (CA)

Trent Univ. Faculty v. Trent Univ. (1997), 102 O.A.C. 346 (CA)

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [1997] O.A.C. TBEd. SE.016

Trent University Faculty Association (applicant/respondent on appeal) v. The Board of Governors of Trent University, O.B. Shime, S. Goudge and J. Goodwin (respondents/appellant)


Indexed As: Trent University Faculty Association v. Trent University

Ontario Court of Appeal

Brooke, Finlayson and Laskin, JJ.A.

August 22, 1997.


A pension plan of Trent University was included in the collective agreement between the university and the Trent University Faculty Association. In 1986, the university reduced its contribution to current service costs of the plan by $213,000 because the plan was in a surplus position. The associ­ation filed a grievance.

An arbitration board dismissed the griev­ance. The association applied for judicial review.

The Ontario Divisional Court, in a decision reported at 60 O.A.C. 225, allowed the appeal, quashed the award and remitted the matter to the board. The university appealed.

The Ontario Court of Appeal, Finlayson, J.A. dissenting, dismissed the appeal.

Administrative Law - Topic 9103

Boards and tribunals - Judicial review - Scope of review - In 1986 Trent Univer­sity used a surplus from the university's faculty pension plan to take a contribution holiday (used the surplus to fund the uni­versity's required annual contributions) - The Trent University Faculty Associ­ation filed a grievance with an arbitration board - The Ontario Court of Appeal held that the appropriate standard of review of the board's decision was correctness - The court stated that although the pension plan was incorporated by reference into the collective agreement, it was an external stand-alone document and its interpreta­tion was not a core part of labour arbitra­tion jurisprudence or collective bargaining law - A labour arbitration board had no particu­lar expertise on the issue of contri­bution holidays - The court was well suited and perhaps better suited to decide the issue - See paragraphs 20 to 26.

Administrative Law - Topic 9118

Boards and tribunals - Judicial review - Curial deference to decisions of tribunals -The Ontario Court of Appeal stated that "[w]hen an arbitration board interprets the provisions of a collective agreement ordi­narily deference is called for, and the court will not intervene if the board has given the provision an interpretation that it could reasonably bear. If, however, the issue to be decided falls outside the arbitration board's area of expertise then deference is not justified." - See paragraph 25.

Arbitration - Topic 7803

Judicial review - General principles - Nature of review proceeding - [See Ad-m­inistrative Law - Topic 9103 and Ad­mi­nistrative Law - Topic 9118 ].

Courts - Topic 126.1

Stare decisis - Authority of judicial deci­sions - Courts of superior jurisdiction - Supreme Court of Canada - General - [See Education - Topic 4445 ].

Education - Topic 4445

Universities - Professors - Benefits - Pen­sions - Employer contributions - A univer­sity faculty pension plan was in surplus and the university reduced its required annual contribution for 1986 by $213,000 by using the surplus - The fac­ul­ty's griev­ance was dismissed by an arbi­tration board - On appeal the Ontario Divisional Court interpreted the provisions of the plan and held that the university was precluded from using the surplus to reduce its 1986 annual contribution to the plan - The Ontario Court of Appeal dis­missed the university's appeal - The court stated that the appropri­ate standard of judicial review was correct­ness - The Supreme Court of Canada in Schmidt (Cory, J.), had reviewed the pen­sion plan and expressly approved of the correctness of the Divisional Court's deci­sion on this issue - Their decision was determinative of this appeal or, at the very least, highly persuasive - See paragraphs 13 to 19 and 28 to 38.

Labour Law - Topic 7112

Industrial relations - Collective agreement - Enforcement - Arbitration - Judicial review - Scope of review - [See Admin­istrative Law - Topic 9103 and Admin­istrative Law - Topic 9118 ].

Cases Noticed:

Stearns Catalytic Pension Plan, Re, [1994] 2 S.C.R. 611; 168 N.R. 81; 155 A.R. 81; 73 W.A.C. 81; 115 D.L.R.(4th) 631, refd to. [para. 2].

Schmidt v. Air Products of Canada Ltd. - see Stearns Catalytic Pension Plan, Re.

Canadian Union of Public Employees - C.L.C., Ontario Hydro Employees Union, Local 1000 v. Ontario Hydro (1989), 33 O.A.C. 63; 68 O.R.(2d) 620 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 15, foot­note 2].

Askin et al. v. Ontario Hospital Associ­ation et al. (1991), 46 O.A.C. 278; 2 O.R.(3d) 641 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 15, footnote 2].

Maurer et al. v. McMaster University et al. (1991), 4 O.R.(3d) 139 (Gen. Div.), revd. in part (1995), 80 O.A.C. 392; 23 O.R.(3d) 577 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 15, foot­note 2].

Pezim v. British Columbia Securities Com­mission et al., [1994] 2 S.C.R. 557; 168 N.R. 321; 46 B.C.A.C. 1; 75 W.A.C. 1; 114 D.L.R.(4th) 385, refd to. [para. 20].

United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Local 579 v. Bradco Construction Ltd., [1993] 2 S.C.R. 316; 153 N.R. 81; 106 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 140; 334 A.P.R. 140; 102 D.L.R.(4th) 494, refd to. [para. 20].

Director of Investigation and Research, Competition Act v. Southam Inc. et al., [1997] 1 S.C.R. 748; 209 N.R. 20; 144 D.L.R.(4th) 1, refd to. [para. 20].

Board of Education of Toronto v. Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation District 15 et al., [1997] 1 S.C.R. 487; 208 N.R. 245; 98 O.A.C. 241, refd to. [para. 21].

McLeod et al. v. Egan et al., [1975] 1 S.C.R. 517; 2 N.R. 443, refd to. [para. 22].

Hockin et al. v. Bank of British Columbia et al. (1995), 57 B.C.A.C. 255; 94 W.A.C. 255; 123 D.L.R.(4th) 538 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 30].

Murphy v. Welsh (1991), 50 O.A.C. 246; 3 O.R.(3d) 182 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 32].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Gillese, E.E., Contribution Holidays (1995), 15 Est. and Tr. J. 136, p. 152 [para. 28].


John C. Murray, for the appellant, the Board of Governors;

Michael C. Mitchell, for the respondent, Faculty Association.

This appeal was heard on May 20 and 21, 1997, before Brooke, Finlayson and Laskin, JJ.A., of the Ontario Court of Appeal. On August 22, 1997, the judgment of the court was delivered and the following opinions were filed:

Laskin, J.A. (Brooke, J.A., concurring) - see paragraphs 1 to 38;

Finlayson, J.A., dissenting - see para­graphs 39 to 53.

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